Avondale Primary School (Auckland) - 16/11/2015

Findings

Avondale Primary School provides settled and purposeful environments for students. Teachers are developing their inquiry-based practices to continue to improve outcomes for students. Ongoing school improvement with more in-depth evaluation and self-review practices are also being implemented to further sustain and improve the school’s performance.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Avondale Primary School is a state primary school from Year 1 to 6. Students are drawn from an ethnically diverse local community located in Avondale, Auckland. The growing school roll comprises 17 percent Māori and 21 percent New Zealand European/Pākehā. There are large numbers of Pacific, Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian students. Many students are from multi-language backgrounds.

The senior leadership team consists of an experienced principal, an associate principal and a newly appointed deputy principal, who joined the staff in 2014. Together with the board of trustees, they focus on enhancing opportunities to promote and improve student progress and achievement.

Leaders and teachers have accessed a number of school-wide professional learning and development initiatives over the last three years. A major focus is supporting teachers to reflect and inquire into their practice. The school’s involvement in a Learning Change Network (LCN) is beginning to strengthen collaboration between schools in the local area. This initiative supports a focus on transition processes and shared understandings of the needs of the wider community.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Publically available data shows that students, including those who are Māori and Pacific recently improved their national standards achievement in reading compared with other local and national achievement levels. Mathematics and writing achievement data continues to fluctuate and the school still has some way to go to meet the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) goal of 85% of students achieving at or above National Standards by 2017. The recent school-wide initiative on teaching as inquiry should support their focus on improving teaching practices that promote student engagement, progress and achievement.

Student achievement information is used by the school to promote learners’ progress and achievement. Teachers use an appropriate range of assessment processes to determine student achievement levels. Deepening school leaders’ and teachers’ inquiries on the impact of their teaching strategies, could provide richer information that influences the school’s curriculum and resourcing.

The school is improving its use of achievement information, particularly with its target students. School-wide and class achievement targets are identified and the progress and achievement of these target students is monitored by teachers and leaders. Teachers reflect on their teaching as a syndicate team and across teams. The principal has aligned school-wide expectations of teaching as inquiry, appraisal processes and self-review practices to deepen teachers’ focus on the progress and achievement of these students. These approaches should help improve outcomes for these students.

Students with diverse needs are identified and support is accessed through a variety of agencies and interventions. Reviewing the outcomes of interventions helps to ensure students are getting appropriate support.

The school’s introduction of the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLPs) as an assessment tool is timely. Greater use and a better understanding of these progressions should help all teachers to better identify, plan and monitor the progress of these students who are new speakers of English.

To facilitate and enhance student learning even further, ERO and school leaders discussed the value of extending opportunities for students to inquire into their learning and know more about their progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school is continuing to develop its curriculum to more effectively promote and respond to the cultural and language diversity of its students. School leaders have developed and shared a curriculum statement with their community. Clearly documented statements identify quality learning expectations for teachers in each curriculum area.

There is an appropriate priority given to establishing a sound foundation in literacy and mathematics. Professional development programmes for teachers prioritise improving teachers’ skills in these learning areas.

In 2014, the school began developing a curriculum approach based on AKO, ‘the child as both teacher and learner’. This is an integrated planning approach, involving the local and wider community and reflecting authentic learning contexts. The purpose of this approach is to strengthen student ‘voice’ and their ownership of learning.

Teachers have developed learning maps with each student identifying aspects of themselves as a learner to help support student perspectives in the class programme. Broadening student's stories around their language, culture and identity could extend what teachers know about their students. The recognition and inclusion of diverse cultures will contribute to a curriculum that is more reflective of the school’s community.

Students have good relationships with each other and their teachers. They cooperate well and classrooms are purposeful and settled environments. The inclusive school tone has a positive influence on student’s sense of belonging.

The school offers a range of co-curricular activities. There are opportunities for students to experience success and build leadership capability and social competencies. A variety of cultural, academic and sporting events celebrate success.

To further enhance the school’s curriculum, school leaders plan to develop an overall curriculum framework for learning to ensure a consistency of pedagogical approaches that supports and enhances the delivery of the school’s curriculum and improves outcomes for all students.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Māori students generally achieve at similar levels to other students at the school in literacy and mathematics.

Aspects of te reo Māori and tikanga are evident in some classroom programmes. Leaders and teachers are continuing to prioritise and foster practices that support the engagement and achievement of Māori students across the school.

Since the 2012 ERO review, teachers and syndicate teams continue to build relationships with whānau in ways that help support their child’s learning and this is an ongoing priority at many levels across the school.

The board and school leaders could continue to explore ways to include Māori perspectives and New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage throughout the curriculum and school operations.

How effective does the school promote educational success for Pacific students?

Twenty seven percent of the school’s roll is Pacific students.

ERO recommends further work to improve the educational outcomes for these students. In particular the board and senior leaders could continue to explore ways to establish greater collaborative partnerships with Pacific families so that they are more actively involved in the school’s decision making.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal and senior leaders have taken a number of actions to continue to improve school performance. Comprehensive processes and expectations are being developed around staff appraisal and professional development for teachers. Well considered school-wide professional development on teaching as inquiry with a focus on raising student achievement should continue to strengthen the professional capability of teachers.

The challenge for the school is to ensure that the benefits from these actions are maximised and bring about the intended improvements. Reviewing their roles and responsibilities could help the leadership team ensure an aligned approach to effective planning, coordinating and evaluating the school’s curriculum and teaching.

Trustees bring a range of strengths and expertise to their board role and are focused on improving outcomes for students. Trustees should now improve processes for knowing about and implementing school governance expectations. More formalised inquiries into the effectiveness of board performance could help improve board operations.

Greater in-depth evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of the school’s performance would help to continue to improve the provision of wellbeing and learning outcomes for students. Through strengthening of inquiry processes at all levels across the school, the leadership team and board of trustees will be able to focus on developing greater coherence to their plans and systems to accomplish the school’s vision, goals and priorities.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

In order to improve practice:

  • the principal should ensure all teachers are appropriately appraised in relation to the new Education Council’s Practising Teacher Criteria
  • ensure public meetings maintain the privacy of individuals and improve the recording of minutes when the public is excluded from board meetings.

Conclusion

Avondale Primary School provides settled and purposeful environments for students. Teachers are developing their inquiry-based practices to continue to improve outcomes for students. Ongoing school improvement with more in-depth evaluation and self-review practices are also being implemented to further sustain and improve the school’s performance.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 November 2015

About the School

Location

Avondale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1213

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

381

Gender composition

Girls 54%

Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%

Pākehā 21%

Samoan 17%

Indian 8%

Chinese 6%

Tongan 6%

Middle Eastern 5%

Cook Island Māori 3%

Niue 3%

other Asian 6%

other South East Asian 4%

other 4%

Special Features

Host to RTLB and RTLit
Host to Speech Language Therapist

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

16 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2012

Education Review June 2008

Education Review June 2005